Monday, March 10, 2014

Mr. Bones

It was at an Irish bar South of San Francisco one evening in 1978. I had been playing flute for a Step Dancing group, and afterwards started talking to one of the customers. And he looked familiar. Of course! Percy Danforth, better known as Mr. Bones. I had seen him performing the year before in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Percy liked the attention I gave him. He took a set of bones out of his coat pocket, and gave me a lesson:

Percy had worked as an engineer all his life, and was still active in engineering at the age of 78. His engineering knowledge influenced also his musical work. The set of wooden bones that I got from him that evening was a design that he had made out of many different materials - both wood and metal.

The secret of bones playing is in the balance, he said. If you are holding the bones correctly, they will almost play themselves. Then you can play for a whole evening without your wrists wearing out...

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